Elac Carina BS243.4 vs. KEF LS50 Meta

Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
$1000 $1600
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.63” × 8.06” × 9.69”
321mm × 205mm × 246mm
11.90” × 7.90” × 11.00”
302mm × 201mm × 279mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-30,000 Hz 79-28,000 Hz
ASR Score
n/a 4.6
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
n/a 6.7

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: The Elac Carina BS243.4 and KEF LS50 Meta are both formidable contenders in the high-fidelity bookshelf speaker arena. The Carinas, designed by the renowned Andrew Jones, offer a silky JET folded-ribbon tweeter and a compelling soundstage, with a warm, enveloping character. On the flip side, the LS50 Meta, an evolution of KEF's iconic LS50, comes armed with the innovative Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), which provides a cleaner, more precise sound, with a patented Uni-Q driver array that ensures consistent, detailed performance across the listening area. Choosing between these nuanced sonic signatures is a subjective affair, dependent on the listener's personal taste and acoustic preferences.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to the world of high-fidelity audio, few debates are as spirited as the comparison between different bookshelf speakers. The Elac Carina BS243.4 and the KEF LS50 Meta are two standout models that audiophiles might grapple over when deciding on their next acoustic investment. Both brands command respect, with Elac known for producing speakers that offer rich, detailed sound, and KEF revered for their cutting-edge technologies and design excellence.

Design and Build Quality

Starting with aesthetics and build quality, the Elac Carina series brings a sleek and modern approach. The Carina BS243.4, with its Jet 5 tweeter and compound curvature aluminum cone woofer, not only delivers on sound but also presents a sophisticated appearance. The cabinets are beautifully crafted, and the overall design is both understated and elegant. Turning to the KEF LS50 Meta, it's clear that KEF has put considerable thought into the visual and tactile experience. The LS50 Meta's patented Uni-Q driver array is a work of acoustic art, and the speakers are available in a variety of colors to suit any decor. Both are solidly built, but the LS50 Meta has an edge in its innovative driver design that provides a point source for sound waves, resulting in a more three-dimensional soundscape.

Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
Elac Carina BS243.4 arrow (at Amazon.com)

Performance and Sound Stage

Sound-wise, the Elac Carina BS243.4 impresses with its natural and transparent response. Its bass is tight and punchy, despite the physical limitations of any bookshelf speaker. Midrange is articulate and clear, showcasing Elac's commitment to accurate sound reproduction. The high frequencies are crisp without being harsh, thanks to the Jet 5 tweeter, which is a hallmark of the Carina series. On the other hand, the KEF LS50 Meta is a sonic powerhouse that delivers an expansive sound stage with impeccable imaging. KEF's met-material technology is a game-changer, absorbing 99% of unwanted sound from the rear of the driver, reducing distortion and enhancing clarity. This results in incredibly precise and detailed audio performance across all frequencies. The LS50 Meta is also known for its midrange prowess, making vocals and instruments sound as if they're right there in the room with you.

Power and Efficiency

Looking at power handling and efficiency, the Elac Carina BS243.4 is a relatively easy speaker to drive, with an impedance of 6 ohms and a sensitivity rating of 87 dB at 2.83V/1m. This means they'll perform admirably with a wide range of amplifiers, from modest receivers to more powerful separates. The KEF LS50 Meta, with a nominal impedance of 8 ohms and sensitivity of 85 dB, might require a bit more power to truly shine. They're not inefficient, but an amplifier with a bit of muscle can help these speakers reach their full dynamic potential. This is important to note for those with existing amplifiers or those planning their system's power budget.

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta arrow (at Amazon.com)

In terms of versatility, both speaker sets can comfortably slip into most hi-fi ecosystems. The Elac Carina BS243.4 can be a standout choice for those who prefer a more laid-back, but detailed listening experience. Whether you're into jazz, classical, or vocal-centric music, the Carina can deliver a satisfying audio experience with finesse. The KEF LS50 Meta, conversely, seems to beg for complex, layered tracks where its superior sound-staging and detail retrieval can be fully appreciated. Rock, electronic, or orchestral music lovers might find the LS50 Meta particularly enchanting.

Connectivity and expandability are also considerations for any serious audiophile. While both Elac Carina BS243.4 and KEF LS50 Meta are passive speakers requiring external amplification, it's worth mentioning that KEF offers the LS50 Wireless II, a powered version of the LS50 that integrates streaming and amplification. For those looking for an all-in-one solution, this might tip the scales. However, for purists who prefer separate components, the traditional passive models will suffice, as they allow for greater customization and potential upgrades in the audio chain.

In conclusion, the Elac Carina BS243.4 and the KEF LS50 Meta bookshelf speakers represent two different philosophies in audio design and performance. Whether one chooses the warm and natural sound of the Carina BS243.4 or the transparent, detail-oriented approach of the LS50 Meta, will come down to personal preference and the type of music they most enjoy. Both sets of speakers are capable of providing a rewarding listening experience that could be the centerpiece of any home audio system. Ultimately, your ears and your favorite tracks are the best judges in this comparison.

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Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers

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Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.